All quotes from Terence McKenna’s

We have the vision, we have the money, we have the technology. But why can we not, then, appear before each other as radiantly luminous beings? And why cannot we reclaim our planet from toxification, disease, overpopulation, bonehead politics, you know the list? What’s the hang-up here? What is the problem? Why is perfection so distant?

All flows. Nothing lasts. Nothing is permanent. And this is the hardest message life has to teach. Because what it says is: your joy is transient, your anguish is transient, your fortune, your home, your dream, your moments of great ecstasy, your moments of great insight, your moments of great empowerment. Everything is flowing through your hands at the moment that you are aware of it.

Man—which means men and women, human beings—are divine beings. Not lower than the angels, higher than the angels.

We have no idea what it would mean in our own lives if we could throw off the notion of ourselves as fallen beings. We are not fallen beings.

There is no inevitability in our lives unless we submit to the idea of inevitability and then give ourselves over to it.

Hard as the world may appear, dark as the hour may appear, in reality we exist in a dimension of greater opportunity, greater freedom, greater possibility than has ever been. The challenge, then, is to not drop the ball.

What “psychedelic” means is: getting your mind out in front of you (by whatever means necessary) so that you can relate to it as a thing in the world, and then work upon it.

We are the proof that mind can conjure miracles out of time. If it weren’t for us, there would just be birds and foxes and coral reefs and glaciers. But nature was not content with that level of novelty. A million years ago, a hundred thousand years ago, nature grew discontented and said, you know: let’s raise the ante. Let’s go to higher stakes poker in this planetary game. Let the monkeys speak! Let them build fires! Let them elaborate tools! Let them march forward onto the stage of creation! And remember, I said the hermetic faith was that humankind was the brother, could act as the brothers and sisters of God—not motes in God’s creation, but co-partners in the invocation out of being of yet greater novelty. Why? For play. For fun. Just the cosmic madness of it all, the pure cussedness of it all, to raise the stakes higher and higher and higher.

The mushroom said to me once: nature loves courage. Nature loves courage. And I said: what’s the payoff on that? And it said: it shows you that it loves courage because it will remove obstacles. You make the commitment, and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold—this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. It’s done by hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering that it’s a feather bed. And there’s no other way to do it.

It is never one or the other. It does a tremendous injustice to being to ignore the union of opposites.

We may then participate, act in, and be part of the transformation of the planet. And it is an immense transformation. And there is no reason to doubt it, because the emergence of organic life from what preceded it is as dramatic a miracle as anyone could imagine. The emergence of language from mute bestiality—which is only 100,000 years in the past—is as dramatic a miracle as anyone could imagine. The emergence of a planet instantaneously unified by electricity and media is—and this is only fifty, sixty years in our past; it’s still going on—is as dramatic a miracle as anyone could imagine. It’s absolutely irrational to not be filled with the fire of consuming hope. You just have to overcome the leveling that we inherit from these empty existential scientific ideas.

We are the last people. Beyond us lies the mystery. If we have but the courage to move forward into that abyss, to believe that nature will reward the dreamer, then we can complete that wonderful Irish toast which says: “May ye be alive at the end of the world.”